All good things must come to an end — it’s an inevitable part of life. Whether we like it or not we have to embrace change in order to find the good in what seems like a bad situation. In order to grow and welcome new and better opportunities into our lives this may sometimes involve cutting ties with those that we once loved. Sometimes we evolve too fast for our partners to keep up with us or our partners grow too fast for us to keep up with them. Maybe you've come to realize that your partner wasn't the person you saw them as through the rose colored glasses of the honeymoon phase — it happens to the best of us. It’s a natural progression that can lead to the bitter moment of choosing to part ways, but it doesn't have to be as dreadful as it seems.
Breakups can be a time to become re-acquainted with yourself, your needs and your standards which shouldn't be seen as a bad thing. It is simply a moment of evolution that we all need in order to become the best versions of ourselves for the time being. Women and femmes are especially socialized to view singleness as a personal failure, but in reality breakups and singledom can bring forth many learning experiences that refine other aspects of our lives. While the initial end of a relationship stings — and rightfully so — that pain is temporary. It's simply a force meant to move us to the next phase of our lives.
10 Tips to Help You Get Through a Difficult Breakup
Eat those chocolates, watch those rom-coms, and cry till your heart's content—whatever you need to do to let out the sadness so that you can welcome happiness back into your life. This is your opportunity to level up.
1. Allow yourself to mourn the relationship.
This may seem a little counter productive to those who want the pain of a breakup to end as quickly as possible. The truth is, if you don’t allow yourself the opportunity to mourn the relationship and sit with your feelings it will come back to bite you later. If you don't allow yourself the opportunity to be — rightfully — sad about a breakup you may later realize that you haven’t completely moved on from the ghost of relationships past.
Allowing yourself the opportunity to cry and eat that tub of ice cream will ensure that you’re processing your emotions rather than trying to mask them or soothe them with self-destructive behaviors disguised as "moving on." Breakups can be sad, and it’s okay to feel upset about them—go ahead and cry it out.
2. Nurture your non-romantic relationships.
We've been socialized to hold romantic partnerships above all other relationships and forms of intimacy — and it shows. Singledom is seen as a phase in our life that we must act quickly to end. We spend so much time seeking out opportunities to be coupled in order to feel intimacy that we gloss over the very real, very intimate relationships that we have with the people we don't feel romantic feelings for — our friends, our families, ourselves. You can vouch for the validity of this sentiment if you've ever at any point heard about the 2010 Oxford University study that found that many people lose on average two to five of their friends after entering a romantic relationship.
When romantic love is on the brain, we forget to make time and space for the other people in our lives that love us too. Remember to nurture those relationships both during and in the aftermath of a romantic relationship; these will most likely be the people supporting you through the breakup.
3. Set some new boundaries (and stick to them!).
Maybe you broke up with your S/O for crossing a line or for taking you for granted — and if so, props to you for knowing your worth and taking care of yourself! In the aftermath of this breakup it would be a good idea to re-evaluate your boundaries. People, whether you're involved in a romantic relationship with them or not, will do to you what you will allow.
Be sure that in the aftermath of a breakup you remember that putting your needs above the wants of others is imperative to your overall health and well being. If a past partner overstepped your boundaries use this time to set stronger ones and practice sticking to them in your everyday life as well as in your next romantic endeavor. Remember, your boundaries are important and deserve to be respected.
4. Do activities that make you feel good about yourself.
No matter how solid of a person you are or how much confidence in yourself you have, a breakup can somehow still manage to make you feel like you're not good enough. Don't believe that little voice in your head convincing you of that lie. To silence it try picking up an activity that will make you feel good about yourself. Group activities and enrolling in fun classes will not only help you take your mind off of any bad thoughts you may be having as a result of a breakup, it will also allow you to be around and spend quality time with other likeminded people, which can definitely help mend a broken or lonely heart.
5. Practice gratitude.
As cheesy as it sounds, sometimes things really do happen for a reason. While breakups do bring forth a lot of sadness and anxiety, it might help put things into perspective if you realize that the relationships was good while it lasted and ultimately served its purpose. In other cases, it might be a good to show gratitude that a particular romantic situation is over — especially if you realize that your partner may have been holding you back or was generally not a good partner to you. Whether you're grateful that it happened or grateful that it ended, it's always good to have that kind of perspective to help you move forward after a breakup.
6. Understand that closure is a myth.
Closure is a myth and here's why—The idea that we need closure in order to let a relationship go only really serves as an excuse to reopen old wounds. The reality is that if the relationship ended on bad terms "closure" will only add to the feelings of betrayal, inadequacy, and frustration that the breakup was founded on. If there was no successful way to explain away the act that led to a breakup in the first place, revisiting it may be harder on the heart than letting go and moving on could ever be.
7. Self-care, self-care, self-care!
While self-care can be bubble baths and bottomless brunches, it can also look a lot like self-reflection and solitude. Both forms of self care are a good prescription for getting over a breakup. Pamper yourself when you can — because you deserve it— but reflect on yourself and your relationship while you do so. Embrace the balance between fun self-care and necessary self-care—journal about how you're feeling post-breakup while you wait for your clay mask to dry. By pampering yourself as you reflect on why a relationship has ended and what this means for you now, you'll likely have come out on the other side of the breakup feeling a deeper connection with yourself physically and emotionally as you gain a greater understanding of your own wants and needs. You'll also re-emerge from your post breakup slump with really glowy skin.
8. Let go of residual guilt and resentment
Residual guilt or resentment over a breakup will have you reliving trauma from a relationship that is already in the rearview. The more you hold onto that guilt and resentment, the longer you are allowing that relationship to hold power over you. Retaining these kinds of feelings can negatively affect your self-worth, as well as creep their way into any other relationships that you try to cultivate with other romantic partners. For the sake of the future healthy relationships you could be having, let that toxicity go.
9. Avoid rebounding.
When your emotions are all over the place following a breakup the last thing you want to do is put yourself in another potentially compromising situation. A rebound — or person with whom you become briefly involved with very immediately following a breakup — serves as a distraction from the very real and very valid feelings of anger, sadness, and guilt you feel immediately after your relationship ends. This is not to be mistaken for dating around post breakup (when you've decided you're ready to do so). Not only is rebounding a disservice to yourself as a distraction from acknowledging your true feelings about your breakup, it is also a disservice to the person you've appointed as your rebound once they realize that your feelings or attraction to them is not genuine. Hurt people, hurt people. Don't continue the cycle of unhealthy relationships (romantic or otherwise). Emotional manipulation is never the way.
10. Don’t be afraid to get back out there.
Getting back out there and dating again post breakup can be a struggle. What if you've just exited a long term relationship and the dating scene has changed dramatically since the last time you've been "on the market?" Or perhaps the idea of starting over and having to emotionally invest in another person just seems exhausting. It's okay to take your time. Once you've healed from your past and feel comfortable enough to get back on the prowl, be sure that you're armed with high standards, healthy boundaries, and most of all the desire to have some fun! Move forward at your own pace, and just try to enjoy the perks of singledom — it's really not so bad.
Breakups aren't easy. They can be an emotional rollercoaster of uncertainty and sadness, but like rollercoasters and relationships, breakups too come to an end—resulting in new, healthier relationship with other people and with ourselves! When you look at a breakup as an opportunity to learn about what you want, what you need and what you deserve in your relationships, you come out on the other end of it a much healthier person, emotionally. Each setback is a learning experience and when you use it as such you keep yourself from prolonging your sadness longer than it needs to be felt. Acknowledge your emotions as they come, allow yourself to feel them authentically at your own pace and remember that this too shall pass.